Las Biuty Queens is a book of interconnected stories about a group of trans Latinx friends who live in New York City, looking for clients and highs, and dealing with the realities of immigration policies and the harshness of America. The stories follow their interpersonal drama, difficulties with the law, and the brutal realities of being someone in such a liminal space, but also their joy and friendship.
Chilean writer Iván Monalisa Ojeda draws on his/her own experiences for the book, and you can really feel the real pain and happiness throughout, especially when situations are described that seem impossible to win. The format—short stories that are all held together by the same narrator, moving between different times in a non-linear way—works well to paint a picture rather than tell a single story, and despite being individual stories, the book felt more cohesive than some novels.
Exploring sex work, drugs, and immigration, Las Biuty Queens sits well alongside other books that explore trans lives in New York City, and it has a witty immediacy that brings you straight into each story. It’s a rare occasion on which I wish a book was longer, because I definitely would’ve read more of this.